It had been a perfectly clear, sunny day until I spotted some huge clouds approaching quickly from the northwest. Though we continued fishing, I kept a close eye on the changing weather, and soon I noticed that the front of the nearest clouds appeared to be sliced straight down as though an invisible knife had severed the leading edge. Having never seen such a phenomenon, and knowing that I was responsible for my client’s welfare, I decided to run away from the menacing storm before it hit.
We quickly strapped down the rods, put on our life jackets, fired up the big outboard and headed southeast as fast as the boat would go. I had been near the midsection of Bald Ridge Creek on Lake Lanier, and my client’s house was near the back of Young Deer Creek. Though I knew it would be tricky, I thought maybe I could make it out of one creek into the other before the winds caught us. It was a very poor judgment!
Just as I turned back into the mouth of Young Deer Creek, a tremendous gust of wind hit us broadside! Even though I was running more than 60 miles per hour, my twenty foot long bass boat was lifted out of the water and moved some 30 feet in the air! Since in my younger days, I had been a competent race car driver, I knew to keep my foot on the throttle and hang on to the steering wheel. Sure enough, when the boat came down, the big propeller bit into the water, the wheel was straight, and we were headed up the creek in one piece.
It was then that I looked over to see how my client had taken this bone-chilling experience, and I was stunned to see that he had a big smile on his face. I couldn’t believe it!
“Are you okay?” I asked. “Wasn’t that interesting?” was all that he replied, but I came to learn that Robert A. Lipson, M.D. found everything in life “interesting,” and had a zest for life and learning that few ever find. He was the absolute best client that this old fishing guide ever had and a true friend in every sense of the word! Others may have known him for many of his other accomplishments as a community leader, wonderful family man, CEO of WellStar, or excellent photographer, but myself and the other fishermen at Lake Lanier always new him affectionately as “Dr. Bob”.
Though I’m sure that he was pursuing a new facet of life that intrigued him, I was shocked and saddened to hear that Dr. Bob was killed this past week on a motorcycle that he had purchased at a charity auction. I’m sure that thousands of people he touched in life will grieve at his passing, but for me, I will rejoice for the hundreds of hours we spent together in every imaginable kind of weather during the magnificent changes of seasons, as we pursued the wily bass at Lake Lanier and the colorful trout in the Chattahoochee River. I learned a long time ago that it’s not the money you make or the exotic places you visit that are remembered…it’s the special people that you meet along the way, and for me, Dr. Bob was at the top of the list!